June 15, 2019
June 15, 2019
June 19, 2019
Women in Engineering
For more than two decades, female participation in undergraduate engineering programs has remained stuck at 20%. The research focus has been on women who either choose not to enroll or withdraw. We propose a change in focus towards women who are currently participating and thriving. These women are female undergraduate participants in extra-curricular engineering student project teams (ESPTs). Our aim is to learn more about those positive experiences as they are identified and described by the women themselves. We propose an innovative combination of qualitative research methods. We begin with sequenced semi-structured interviews focusing first on background and then their ESPT experience. Next, we employ photovoice, encouraging students to document through photographs and videos what they consider to be positive about ESPTs. And, during a follow-up interview, we ask them to assign meaning to those photographs and videos by answering questions associated with social action, the participants and their relationships, and the discourses needed for participation as well as any other mediational means necessary for performing those actions. To conclude, we present key recurring themes evident in the early data. Agency is the originating and continuing motivation. It is realized through confronting challenging problems, participating in “hands-on” doing in response, and producing tangible outcomes. Through involvement, these women experience community and understand both failure and commitment as opportunity and necessity, respectively. Finally, they experience becoming an engineer.
Liang, J. G., & Evans, R., & Kulesza, S. E. (2019, June), We are Thriving! Undergraduate Women in Engineering Student Project Teams Paper presented at 2019 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition , Tampa, Florida. 10.18260/1-2--33548
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